Through six games, Miami was wandering in darkness. Dwyane Wade resembled a punch-drunk ex-boxing champion with lumps all over his face and Chris Bosh was getting his lunch money taken from him by Roy Hibbert.
In Game 7, they “flipped on the switch,” turned on the jets and left Indiana behind in their dust. In the process, James and Wade may have kept the Heat off the hot seat for another four months.
There are differences to flipping on “the switch”. It’s an immeasurable intangible, but all the great teams can find it. “The switch” is all mental. For Miami, it’s always appeared to be a question of finding the motivation.
In fight or flight situations, champions don’t wait for a gust of wind to glide with the flock. They flap their wings, develop their own lift and ascend into the clouds.
In the past, we questioned whether James had the fortitude to dig up those reserves. It wasn’t the physical aspect, we questioned. It was his mental fortitude. At this point in his career, those questions are floating in a watery grave.
With Wade, the concern was his physical readiness, focus and whether he was too frustrated mentally with his physical limitations to impact the game. In Game 7, Wade found a sliver of his old self. Wade's 21 points and nine rebounds in Game 7 were more than his totals in Games 5 and 6 combined.
It wasn’t just their offensive excellence that blew Indiana out of the water. Miami was a buzzsaw on both ends of the floor and even won the battle on the boards. After resembling Wilt Chamberlain (in Hershey, Pennsylvania no less) for six games, Hibbert broke under the pressure and Paul George was an apparition on the offensive end.
Pressure creates diamonds. Underneath the bright lights, Miami has experience with enduring pressure under fire. They forged their first championship run in a fiery seven-game battle with Boston during the 2012 postseason. In their first heavyweight championship bout, Indiana finally crumbled.
Indiana capitalized on their mismatches all over the floor, but the Heat had one attribute Frank Vogel couldn’t game plan for–they found another level.